Hilltopper Football Gameday – Game 2 vs. Liberty

Roger Cray

WKU Athletics




  • The Hilltoppers and Flames have only met twice, as the opposition swept a two-game series in the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
  • Liberty University was established in 1971 and then a football team followed in 1973; the Flames were NAIA from 1972-80, then Division II from 1981-87, then Division I-AA from 1988 to 2005, then FCS from 2006-2017. Liberty is very new to the FBS ranks, but has gone 6-6 and 8-5 in its first two seasons at college football’s highest level.
  • This will be Liberty’s first game of the 2020 season, and the Flames will go on to play nine more for a 10-game schedule. They have three ACC opponents on their slate, as well as two other C-USA teams (FIU and Southern Miss) lined up.


  • 3.5 — After setting WKU’s FBS Era (since 2009) record with 21 TFL’s in 2019, senior DE DeAngelo Malone started out his 2020 campaign with 3.5 TFL’s at Louisville.
  • 5 — Senior DB Omari Alexander made an impact in five stat categories at Louisville. He had one punt block, one interception, one fumble recovery, one TFL and five total tackles.
  • 290 — The Hilltoppers’ 26-man senior class brings 306 career starts to the table going into Game 2 of the season. Safety Devon Key leads WKU with 38 career starts on The Hill.


  • WKU’s team captain for the game was redshirt senior safety Devon Key.
  • WKU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Hilltoppers have won three consecutive coin tosses dating back to last season.
  • There was an attendance of 11,179 in Cardinal Stadium for the 8:05 p.m. ET kick off. The game lasted 3:03, which was slightly below WKU’s average game time of 3:08 last season.
  • In the 102nd season of WKU Football, the Hilltoppers fell to 60-36-6 all-time in season-opening games. WKU also fell to 1-4 all-time in games played on Sept. 12.
  • WKU fell to 12-22 all-time against Louisville, including 12 consecutive matchups dating back to the Hilltoppers’ last win in the series in 1975. That total includes a 4-19 record on games played in Louisville.
  • WKU was out-scored 21-0 in the second quarter, while out-scoring Louisville 21-14 in the other three quarters combined. It was a similar story in last season’s matchup between the two teams, as WKU was out-scored 24-7 in the second quarter, while tying Louisville 14-14 in the other three quarters combined.
  • WKU allowed only seven points in the second half, continuing the team’s trend from last season. Over the final 12 games of 2019, the Hilltoppers allowed an average of only 6.9 points in the second half.
  • Louisville converted 9-of-16 (56%) of third downs against WKU. Last season, the Hilltopper defense ranked seventh in FBS by allowing a third-down conversion rate of only 30%.
  • Louisville won the time of possession battle 32:33-to-27:27 over WKU, which included a 18:55-to-11:05 advantage in the first half.
  • WKU recorded 10 tackles for loss as a team, which was more than the Hilltoppers had in any game last season. In all, nine different WKU defenders had at least 0.5 tackles for loss.
  • WKU fell to 4-5 while wearing white jersey tops and black pants, dating back to 2013. The Hilltoppers had won three consecutive games in the combination at the tail end of the 2019 season.
  • Omari Alexander had a Swiss Army Knife-type performance, with a fumble recovery on a muffed punt, a blocked punt, an interception, a tackle for loss and five total tackles (three solo, two assisted).


  • After stellar years in 2019, seniors defensive end DeAngelo Malone and punter John Haggerty both started the 2020 campaign right where they left off.
  • At Louisville, Malone tied for the team lead with eight total tackles (seven solo, one assisted), while leading WKU with 3.5 tackles for loss for eight negative yards, pushing his career tackle for loss total to 35. He also recorded one sack for four yards lost, forcing a fumble of Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham on the sack. It was his 20th career sack and fourth career forced fumble. The 3.5 tackles for loss currently are tied for the 2020 FBS lead with two other players.
  • Haggerty meanwhile, punted five times for a total of 231 yards for a gross…

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